Demolishing The RCA Dome

By Tom Hale | September 28, 2010

View of Indianapolis landmark - the RCA Dome - prior to deflation of the dome's roof on Sept. 24.

Demolition crews have been busy dismantling remaining sections of the RCA Dome in downtown Indianapolis, clearing the way for continued expansion of the Indiana Convention Center. The demolition work marks the final step in the removal of the Indy landmark — a process that has involved ripping out seats and turf and other interior components; deflating the dome's 8-acre Teflon-coated fabric roof on Sept. 24, 2008; dismantling sections of the dome with traditional demolition methods following the roof's deflation; and imploding the dome on Dec. 20.

For the implosion, engineered explosive charges strategically placed in hundreds of locations around the circumference of the RCA Dome brought down the seating level and other portions of the dome in about 25 seconds. The implosion was not intended to flatten the dome completely but to reduce the structure to a level where the remaining debris could be safely removed by large equipment operated at event/field level.

Since early January, crews — using a variety of demolition machines and attachments — have been busy tearing down the remaining sections of the structure, processing large piles of rubble and hauling the debris off-site. Much of the material is being recycled.

Complete removal of the dome, which opened in 1984, is expected by late spring.

Expanding Indiana Convention Center

Shiel Sexton, Indianapolis, in a joint venture with Powers & Sons, Gary, IN, is the construction manager for the $275-million expansion of the Indiana Convention Center. The expansion, when completed in late 2010 and combined with the new Lucas Oil Stadium, will increase the amount of exhibition, meeting room and pre-function space from 725,000 to 1.2 million square feet.

According to the Indiana Stadium & Convention Building Authority, the new convention center addition will include 63,000 square feet of meeting rooms and 103,000 square feet of pre-function space. New exhibit halls will contain about 254,000 square feet.